Joel Michaelsen Elected Chair of the Academic Senate

Congratulations to Professor Joel Michaelsen on being elected Chair of the Academic Senate for the 2006 – 2008 term.

FYI:Two organizational characteristics of the University of California distinguish it from other public and private research universities in the United States. One is the designation of the institution in the State Constitution as a public trust, thereby giving the Regents an ability to manage the institution relatively free of outside interference. The second is the remarkable power invested in the faculty by the Regents, and specifically the Academic Senate, to guide the academic and administrative affairs of the University.

The Academic Senate of the University of California was established with the creation of the University in 1868. Under the Organic Act passed that year as statutory law, the Senate and its faculty would act as administrators, instructors and researchers. This model of faculty as both managers and teachers within the University was affirmed when the University was elevated to a “public trust” under the California State Constitution in 1879. At several important junctures in the history of the University of California, the Regents reaffirmed and actually strengthened the decisive role of the Senate in both the daily management and long-term planning of the institution.

Over time, the institution grew in complexity and a need developed for a professional staff. Today, the Senate is empowered by the Regents to exercise direct control over academic matters of central importance to the University, and has advisory powers on all issues relating to the mission of the University: instruction, research and public service. In summary, the Senate’s chief responsibilities are to:

  • Authorize, approve, and supervise all courses (except those of certain graduate professional schools).
  • Determine the conditions of admissions, certificates and degrees.
  • Recommend the hiring and promotion of faculty members.
  • Approve the publication of manuscripts by the University of California Press.
  • Advise on the administration of the UC libraries.
  • Assist in the searches for deans, chancellors, and presidents.
  • Advise the University President and the Chancellors on budget and administrative matters under the rules of “Shared Governance.”


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